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Horace de Vere Cole and the Dreadnought Hoax


The Dreadnought Hoax pranksters as photographed by Lafayette , Feb. 7, 1910. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license.  © National Portrait Gallery, London
The Dreadnought Hoax pranksters as photographed by Lafayette , Feb. 7, 1910. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Cole was a lifelong prankster, but none of his stunts could compare with his scheme to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends -- including Virginia Woolf -- to pretend they were Abyssinian royalty.

Holly's Research:

  • Alberge, Dalya. “How a bearded Virginia Woolf and her band of 'jolly savages' hoaxed the navy.” The Guardian. Feb. 4, 2012. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/feb/05/bloomsbury-dreadnought-hoax-recalled-letter
  • “The Bloomsbury Group: Art, lives and legacy.” Tate. http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/bloomsbury-group
  • Davis, Wes. “A Fool There Was.” New York Times. April 1, 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/01/opinion/a-fool-there-was.html
  • Downer, Martyn. “The Sultan of Zanzibar.” Black Spring. 2010.
  • The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Bloomsbury group.” Encyclopædia Britannica. May 07, 2007. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bloomsbury-group
  • The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Dreadnought.” Encyclopædia Britannica. July 20, 1998. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dreadnought-British-battleship
  • Rothman, Lily. “Downton Was Right About the Prankster in Neville Chamberlain’s Family.” Time. Feb. 1, 2016. http://time.com/4192729/neville-chamberlain-downton-pranks/
  • Stephen, Adrian. “The ‘Dreadnought’ Hoax.” Chatto & Windus. 1983.

Topics in this Podcast: British history, maritime history, 20th century, hoaxes


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